I am looking good. You'd never guess I'd trimmed it myself. As for Amelie, she might look as though she's being violently shaken by a crazed Canadian midget, but I can assure you she's not. In reality, the Canadian is of average height.
Anyhoo, I'm clearly a man of my word, so within hours of bumping into Stefan outside the Eye Hospital the Friday before last, I pulled my finger out and used it to type an e-mail, inviting him, Andrew and Nora around for dinner. They were kind (and hungry) enough to accept, and by 7 o'clock last night, I was bumping into Stefan again as I ran past him and said cheese before the self-timer went off.
It was a hastily arranged dinner date, and Lisa and Stefan have promised that given more time, they'll consult with each other in future to avoid clashing so hideously. But wardrobe malfunctions aside, the evening was a total success. Admittedly there was a slight issue with the pesto pasta dish that we so lovingly prepared for our guests, but I can't go into details because Lisa and I have sworn to take that secret to our graves. Which is likely to be sooner rather than later if we've given everyone food poisoning.
The good news is that we managed to extract some gifts from our guests before we killed them. Amelie was presented with a delightful book called 'A Bit Lost', which I'm sure has nothing to do with her recent experience in Asda, plus an audio-visual pirate book, an ornamental owl, a ladybird watering can and a solar powered light. Frankly I've seen people win less on The Generation Game. But Lisa and I received something far more valuable: two of Stefan's strudels.
It's a generally accepted fact that everyone remembers where they were when they first tasted one of Stefan's home-made strudels. Personally, I was dealing drugs on 18th August 2008. Which explains why I always had the munchies. We managed to eat the walnut, apple & cherry strudel between us all last night, meaning there's one now left in the fridge. Needless to say, it won't be there for long.
But despite having our mouths full at all times, we still managed to catch up on all the important news. Stefan and Andrew examined the sideboard that broke Lisa's teeth, I showed them my City & Guilds Diploma, and then Andrew told us how he was almost killed when a con-man fitted dodgy brakes to his car. I'm tempted to name and shame the mechanic involved, but apparently he's quite scary, and liable to beat you unconscious with a car jack and shove you in the crusher if you question his work. So, on balance, I've decided not to.
In addition to our mutual near-death experiences, Nora told us about the misery of not having a job, Stefan told us about the misery of having his, and Andrew explained the problems of getting foreign goods through customs without paying any tax. But the most amusing anecdote came from Stefan, who told us about the jaunty theme music that accompanied the weather forecasts on Hungarian state television when he was growing up in Slovakia...
He watched that for sixteen years, and he's only just found out it's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.